El albergue

El albergue

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Heating up the holidays

What a strange holiday season this has been. Normally, Christmas is full of coats and scarves, carols and pageants, Christmas decorations and tasty food out the wazoo. And New Years has always involved cozily long dinner parties with lots of games and heart felt toasts when the ball finally drops.

Well, we DID go to a carol extravaganza, put up the tiniest touch of Christmas decorations, and eat at least one special meal. And we DID cheer when midnight finally came and the New Year started with a bang. But there were no hats, coats, scarves, or fires by which to curl up with a blanket and cocoa.

Rather, it has been HOT! I mean, I know we’re in the southern hemisphere and all that jazz, but still, it feels just a tad bit strange when Christmas is just around the corner and New Year’s right on its heels and you can feel the sweat rolling down your back and the sun slowly toasting your skin a darker shade of brown.

Hold on a second here! Who changed the thermostat?! What is this silliness?!!! Ah well, we have made the best of it that we could, haha.

Christmas Day dawned a little cooled by light rain and brightened by a surprise Christmas tree that sprang up in the living room over night. We opened presents and left them strewn all over the floor as we skyped with bundled up family back home in California. We ate popcorn and had a Christmas movie marathon on the couch, and then made a wonderful Christmas dinner of lemon pepper salmon, mushroom risotto, and mango salad, the lightness of the meal in pleasant contrast to the humidity of the day.

Santa came for a midnight visit!

Boxing Day (Dec. 26) we took refuge inside, hiding with our fans from the summery world outside to relax together and discuss the origin of this distinctly British Commonwealth holiday. Oh ok, so the discussion didn’t last much longer than it took to look it up on Wikipedia, but who’s keeping track?

New Years Eve definitely started out warm, but I was determined to join the hordes camping out all day to see the famous Sydney fireworks. Kali had to study, so after lunch Zach and I packed up a backpack full of food and sundries and sweated our way to the train station to join the constant stream of pilgrims going to stake out ideal spots in the many parks with views of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge. Our destination: Blues Point Reserve, just to the northwest of the Bridge.
Good conversations with a friend help pass the time, whatever the glamour of the place :)

We were prepared for a full day in the sun – hats, sandals, shorts, plenty of water and sunscreen. Bring on the heat, baby! …ehem… strangely enough, a couple of hours into our grassy vigil, brisk winds brought mounds of clouds scudding across the sky, blocking the sun and even dusting us with a light sprinkle of rain, all of which made me wish I was wearing pants!

Yay for cards!!!

Well, fast forward a number of hours over the interim of eating m&m’s, reading, playing cards, napping, and chatting, and the fire works finally came, brilliantly lighting up the velvety black of the lowering nighttime clouds and startling the flying foxes swooping about over our heads. With explosions of color coming from five different points along the Harbour as well as the Bridge itself, it was a fiercely beautiful sight indeed.

All the chill we had been feeling earlier soon disappeared as we wove our way through the immediate mass migration towards the train station. Tucked tightly against our neighbors on all sides, we found ourselves in the middle of rather effective insulation, as it were.

Finally home, we rinsed off the grime of the day and fell into bed, windows wide open and fans full force… and we slept.

All a tad bit different from our normal celebrations back home and a fair bit warmer than the holidays should be, but good nonetheless.

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